House Bill 3958, carried by Rep. Larry Gonzales (R- Round Rock), is dubbed the “Interstate Medical Licensure Compact,” and HB 3958 aims to increase the portability of medical licenses across state lines, paving an alternative pathway for physicians to practice in multiple states with only one license.
Although abortion is not mentioned in the bill, the Compact designates rule-making authority to a commission that knowingly — or not — could adopt rules that supplant existing state law. Specifically, the following language could supersede or nullify Pro-Life laws that Texas Right to Life and the legislature have worked so hard to pass:
SECTION 24. BINDING EFFECT OF COMPACT AND OTHER LAWS
(a) Nothing herein prevents the enforcement of any other law of a member state that is not inconsistent with the Compact.
(b) All laws in a member state in conflict with the Compact are superseded to the extent of the conflict.
This same legislation was proposed during the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature (House Bill 661) authored by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Simonton). Texas Right to Life sounded the horn on this dangerous legislation and succeeded in killing Representative Zerwas’ bill.
During the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, John Seago, Legislative Director for Texas Right to Life, outlined the chief Pro-Life concerns (shared by other state and national Pro-Life organizations) to the House Committee on Public Health: (1) Not only would the Compact rules prevail if current law is silent on a specific issue, but also (2) if the rules adopted and promulgated by the Compact conflict with existing laws in the member states, the Compact rules trump state law [Section 24]. Both provisions could have far-reaching implications in the dismantling of Pro-Life laws.
If Texas enters into the Compact outlined in House Bill 3958, the intent or good will of a few Texas legislators will prove irrelevant in a new system of representatives from various states and whose disputes are resolved in a liberal federal court in Washington, D.C. To be effective, identical authorizing language must pass in each member state; therefore, amending HB 3958 to allay Pro-Life concerns is not an option. The only choice is to avoid Texas’ involvement in such a scheme.
If HB 3958 passes, then out-of-state abortionists will be able to to obtain the equivalent of interstate medical licenses, ignoring and circumventing Texas Pro-Life laws. Texas could not enact laws contrary to the regulations of the Compact’s oversight commission, and any disputes on regulations or governance would land in the federal D.C. court, manned by Obama-appointed judges.
Backdoor maneuvers to circumvent state law may actually become reality right here in Texas. A compact like this undermines all Pro-Life Texans have done to protect the preborn and hold abortionists accountable. Texas entering into such a scheme is dangerous to the Pro-Life progress made in Texas and the freedoms we enjoy to be able to protect preborn Life.